ANAHEIM - A Ducks defense that wasn't at its best despite a victory over Philadelphia two nights ago, locked things down tonight against another Eastern Conference foe.
The Ducks, who gave up a whopping 55 shots to the Flyers, allowed just 23 to the visiting Red Wings in a satisfying 2-0 victory in front of a sellout crowd at Honda Center. Goalie John Gibson, who was forced to make a franchise-record-tying 51 saves in that game Sunday evening, stopped all 23 tonight in earning his second shutout of the season.
"We held ourselves accountable to have a bounce-back game and I wanted to keep doing what I was doing," Gibson said. "The guys did a good job slowing them down in the neutral zone. They're a fast team and that's where they get a lot of offense. I thought we executed our game plan really well."
It was the sixth straight game with at least a point for Anaheim, who were without captain Ryan Getzlaf (lower body injury).
"That's the kind of effort we want to produce," said Ducks center Antoine Vermette. "We take a lot of pride in our defensive play, so tonight we were more solid in that regard. We allowed less shots but also less scoring chances."
The Ducks got their first of two goals six minutes into the game when Nick Ritchie punched in a rebound off a Vermette shot on the rush.
Video: DET@ANA: Ritchie turns in loose puck for opening goal
"I was just going to the net," Ritchie said. "If the puck came, I was going to clean it up. I guess I was in the right spot."
It appeared Detroit tied it early in the second when the puck went off the post and was knocked in by Gibson. But a Ducks challenge proved fruitful when replays determined Brendan Smith interfered with Gibson, actually shoving him into the puck.
Detroit lost Smith and fellow defensemen Niklas Kronwall in the second period, forcing the Wings to go with four defensemen the rest of the way.
Yet the Ducks didn't get their second goal until 2:54 left in the third period, a huge insurance marker that came just after killing a Detroit penalty. The goal came when a Kevin Bieksa pass from the point was kicked toward the net by Vermette, and Ondrej Kase picked up the puck just outside the crease and backhanded it home.
Video: DET@ANA: Kase dekes Mrazek, nets silky backhand shot
That provided some late breathing room for the Ducks, who notched their 20th win of the season (20-12-8) and moved into a tie atop the Pacific Division with San Jose.
"We only gave up nine scoring chances from our tabulations, and that's a far cry from what we did the other night," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "That's the type of hockey we're going to have to play.
"We played a desperate team tonight. We know they're a skating team. We tried to eliminate as many of their offensive chances off their skating game as possible, and we were able to pot a couple of goals. Gibby stood tall in net for us and the Vermette line scored both goals. You have to be happy with that."
Anaheim is back at Honda Center two nights from now to take on the Arizona Coyotes.